In the absence of power

It's amazing how reliant we are on electricity. In our house, we don't even have a gas stove, so when we lose power, nearly everything goes. We do have city water, not a well, so at least we had plenty of hot and cold water. Last week we had two power failures. One hit just as I was starting dinner, so I put everything back in the fridge and we went out to eat. When we came home, it was back, so yay! Not a bad excuse to get out of cooking!

But two days later, again as we were eating dinner, the power just died. This time there was a storm brewing, but it hadn't started yet. A few minutes later it poured, the winds were fierce, bending the trees like paper. We have some large trees in our neighborhood, and from what I've heard other neighborhoods did not fair so well, but none of our trees collapsed on top of a house or car. Some big branches broke in the park, and two trees fell over a power line on a main road, but the line held.

Still the outage was extensive. 140,000 plus homes and businesses were without power in southeastern lower Michigan. We happened to be caught among them. And we were also low on the importance list to restore. We lost power Friday night at 6 p.m. and they kept saying it would be back by 11:30 that night. By the third night, we figured that was their standard line. Estimates kept varying from "we've fixed your problem" - um, sorry, but no - not in this neighborhood - to "a truck is en route." We thought we were going to have to wait until Wednesday at midnight, but thankfully, as I was speaking to a friend on the phone about borrowing a generator, the lights came on at noon today!

We lost a lot of food, but a kind neighbor let us share their generator, so we saved what was in the freezer. I even learned how to stop caring what my hair looked like in public. I actually planned to just wear a hat to work at a local cafe.

I learned a little bit about gratitude during this outage. Things could have been so much worse. And my heart breaks for those who have lost so much during tornadoes or hurricanes or tsunamis or war. My problems were inconveniences. Like how to make sure the phones were charged and how to sleep with the windows open all night and allow the cats into our room (which proved better than we expected.)

Sure we lost food, and that was rather expensive. But in comparison, it is nothing. It was not blisteringly hot, so leaving the windows open was perfect. We only lost one shingle - no other damage except to some flowers. My power toothbrush even held its charge, which made me think of how the Israelites' shoes didn't wear out in 40 years in the desert. I know, silly analogy, but it made me grateful for every little way that God watches over us.

That doesn't mean we won't suffer or hurt. Today at the grocery store I hurt so bad I could barely walk from one end of the store to the other. I have no idea why. Maybe my shoes were a poor choice for those hard floors. I need to walk on memory foam.

But even then, I couldn't stop feeling grateful. How good it feels to have lights again, to not lay in bed, reading by candle light and thanking God my Kindle still had power so I could read easier.

In the absence of power, we didn't feel powerless. We felt a little frustrated because there was so much to do and we couldn't do it. But we found creative ways to do things with our time and we got to know our neighbors a little bit better. And that's a good thing.

Sometimes we feel like life is out of control, especially out of our control, but we never had much control anyway. Control is an illusion. And though we prayed and asked friends to pray for our inconvenience to end, especially as our son's wedding is fast approaching, my greatest feeling through it all was gratitude. We didn't deserve to be first in line to return to "normal" and we don't deserve any of the blessings God has given. But we are thankful He has granted them - even the little ones like electricity.